On June 25, 2022, President Biden signed the Keep Kids Fed Act into law and extended summer and school meals for kids around the country. This bill extends many of the waivers and flexibilities put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic to make food more accessible for students. Although it is a step in the right direction, there is still work to be done!
This new law does several things to support districts working to serve meals to students while prices are high, supply chain issues remain, and staffing is a struggle. It provides increased reimbursement for each breakfast and lunch served, allows districts to adapt meal patterns to what is available, and supports child care providers with increased reimbursements.
One COVID flexibility that has been available for the past 2 years that did not make it into the law is continued no-cost meals for all students regardless of income. In all likelihood, that means most school districts will be returning to offering free, reduced-price, and paid meals, which we know will likely be a major hardship on many families. Families will need to once again complete their child’s free or reduced-price lunch applications at the beginning of the upcoming school year to make sure they get the meals they can at the price for which they are eligible.
Free and reduced-price meal paperwork is critical to not just support families, but also to secure federal and state funding for most schools. It’s important to work with your school district to fill them out!
Learn more about the Keep Kids Fed Act by visiting the Food Research & Action Center website. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a Healthy School Meals For All: A toolkit for advocates on ways to help continue our advocacy and achieve #HealthySchoolMealsforAll!